Mariners deny Phoenix deal for McGlinchey

Central Coast Mariners rejected reports their Kiwi star Michael McGlinchey is heading to his hometown on a two-year deal with Wellington Phoenix.  

Football Australia's website apparently jumped the gun when a pre-written media release went online prematurely.

The story sparked emphatic denials from the Mariners who said the All Whites' midfielder was expected back at Gosford for the 2014/15 campaign.

“Michael is still under contract with us,” club chairman Mr Michael Charlesworth said.

“We look forward to him returning to the Mariners from Vegalta Sendai for Hyundai A-League season 10.”

Phoenix communications manager Russell Gray was put in a tricky situation of trying to hose down reports, with negotiations yet to be finalised between the clubs.

Numerous rumours circulated regarding the 27-year-old's immediate club future, including speculation he may link up with ex-Mariners boss Graham Arnold at Sydney FC after following the Aussie coach to Japan.

But according to the earlier report, hastily taken off the FFA site, the All Whites midfielder was keen to return to his hometown after securing an early release from his loan deal with the J-League club.

The player, currently on a break in Glasgow with his young family, was excited by the football Phoenix were playing under coach Ernie Merrick.

"Results may not have gone their way last season and there were a lot of injuries, but I was impressed by the football they were trying to play," he was reported as saying in the Dominion Post.

“In two of the three games the Mariners had against them they outplayed us. The Phoenix have always been a hard team to beat but Ernie is also turning them into a good side to watch."

Familiarity was another factor in the midfielder’s decision with many of the club’s players lining up for the New Zealand national team.

He added: "I want to help the Phoenix win things because the Wellington fans deserve some success. I like the make-up of the team Ernie is putting together this season and the All Whites boys tell me everyone at the club has bought into his philosophy."

Meanwhile Merrick said the versatile McGlinchey is often underrated.

"I was looking for an attacking midfielder, someone who could play No 10 or out wide, and Michael fits the bill perfectly," he said.

"He is a hard worker but can also provide quality, accurate passes to the strikers. Michael is very experienced having been a regular in a very good team and playing in two grand finals.

“He is also an established international player who has played in the World Cup finals for the All Whites. He might not be flashy but is a quality player who can also provide top-class delivery at set pieces.

"In my opinion Michael doesn't always get the credit he deserves. Midfield is the engine room for any team and he is a real worker. I think it is major coup for the Phoenix to get his signature."